Well, there are a few different answers for that. The main answer = enough. If you set up a stall and sell out within an hour, that is poor planning. It isn't good if you earnt $200 and then sold out as you've lost the remaining days takings. A sold out stall is a poor reflection on the seller - buyers don't want to come to an event where everyone has sold out. They want to come and purchase goods that they find. You want want to aim for a well stocked stall with plenty of backup supplies. Especially if it is a multiple day event - as you don't want to be up until 4am the next night to finish stock for the following day! That is when mistakes will happen.
Just because you are going to have a stall at a big fair with over 1,000 people visiting doesn't mean you need 1000 rings because everyone will buy one. Sorry, but they won't. Some people won't like the colour, some people won't have enough money, other people won't like the style, and then there are those who just don't want it at all. That is human nature don't be offended. Only a certain percentage of those customers will purchase something from your stall, if any at all. I recently had a stall at an event which attracted 15,000 customers over multiple days. Out of all those customers I only had 30 sales. Compare that to another event where there was over 1,000 customers and out of all of those customers I had over 200 sales. It all depends on your location and your target market. That first market was a festival where people wanted to spend money on food, not products, and I learnt that very quickly!
In order to work out what stock levels you need there are certain questions you need to evaluate first.
- What is the expected spending amount for each buyer? $5, $50, $500?
- What is the target market?
- What is the stallholders fee for the market?
- What is the entry fee for the market?
- How many stallholders will be present?
- What type of market are you participating in?
- Have you attended that market before?
- Glow in the dark and cheap character items sell well at night markets. Jewellery doesn't as most people will only want to buy jewellery in natural lighting.
- Selling $10 pendants at a market where the average pendant prices are $500 will cause you to sell less. Buyers will compare you to the other vendors and challenge the pricing because it seems different.
- You will find it hard to sell childrens clothing at a music festival fair
- Is my target customer attending?
- How much money will they spend at my store?
- Were my products used for any of the advertising?
If each buyer can only afford to spend $20, then you are not as likely to sell a bag for $240 then you are a purse for $18. So your stock levels would reflect this. Also if your products were used during the advertising - be prepared. Many people will associate you with the ads, and most of the time they will come to the event just to find you.
Other suggestions -
- Tally up past markets/selling opportunities. Work out what has sold & what hasn't. Keep an eye on what your popular lines/products are. Make sure you always have those lines/products in stock.
- You should always have one product in a large quantity. This product is usually a low cost item in your range and the 'drawcard' for buyers to your stall.
- Create a product file. If you do happen to start selling out of designs you can place the file at your stall and allow customers to order them. Have samples on hand that are not for sale so people can see the items that are in the catalogue. Be aware though - some places will not allow you to do this.
- Don't go overboard. If you've only sold one necklace of a certain design in the past year, don't go creating 50 of that line.
What about you? How do you plan your stock levels for your markets/sales venues? We would love to hear about your experiences!